Voter turnout in today's California presidential primary election will likely set a record for the lowest ever recorded in the modern era.

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1 THE FIELD POLL THE INDEPENDENT AND NON-PARTISAN SURVEY OF PUBLIC OPINION ESTABLISHED IN 1947 AS THE CALIFORNIA POLL BY MERVIN FIELD Field Research Corporation 601 California Street, Suite 900 San Francisco, CA (415) FAX: (415) Release #2411 Release Date: Tuesday, June 5, 2012 TODAY'S VOTER TURNOUT IN CALIFORNIA LIKELY TO BE THE LOWEST IN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY HISTORY. PROPORTION OF VOTERS CASTING THEIR BALLOTS BY MAIL TO REACH A RECORD HIGH. IMPORTANT: Contract for this service is subject to revocation if publication or broadcast takes place before release date or if contents are divulged to persons outside of subscriber staff prior to release time. (ISSN ) By Mark DiCamillo and Mervin Field Voter turnout in today's California presidential primary election will likely set a record for the lowest ever recorded in the modern era. The Field Poll estimates that no more than 6 million Californians will cast ballots in this year's presidential primary. This total accounts for just 35 percent of all the voters on the state's official registration lists and about one in four of all the state's citizen-eligible adults. If borne out at the polls today, this would represent a steep decline in voter participation compared to the state's last presidential primary in 2008, when 57.7 percent of registered voters participated. It would also surpass the previous record turnout low of 41.9% set in the 1996 presidential primary. Field Research Corporation is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

2 Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Page 2 Table 1 History of voting in California presidential primary elections to 2012 (figures in thousands) Population Registration Voting Presidential Primary Election Total 1 Citizen- Eligible Adults 2 Official Registration Total 2 Percent of Citizen- Eligibles Number Voting 2 Percent of Official Registration ,679 23,704 17, ,000* 35.0* 25.3* ,856 23,034 15, , ,753 21,888 15, , ,001 21,221 14, , ,344 19,326 14, , ,500 19,180 13, , ,390 18,917 12, , ,550 16,457 11, , ,669 15,258 10, , ,550 14,093 8, , ,447 13,084 9, , ,143 11,737 7, , ,708 10,823 7, , ,567 9,446 6, , ,431 8,074 5, , ,682 6,913 5, , ,900 6,042 4, , Percent of Citizen-Eligibles ( Participation rate ) 1 Population estimates from the California Department of Finance 2 Eligible voting population estimates, official registration totals and number voting in each election from the California Secretary of State's office. * Field Poll estimates. Reasons behind the decline in voter participation There are a number of reasons why today's primary election turnout will likely be so much smaller than in previous presidential election years. One is the absence of a contested presidential primary on the Democratic side. On the GOP side, Republican Mitt Romney has amassed enough convention delegates to have already secured his party's nomination, making California's GOP presidential primary an academic exercise. Thus, the decision to push back the state's presidential primary to the end of the primary calendar is probably the single biggest reason for the downturn in voter participation in this year's primary election. By contrast, four years ago when California held its election in March in the midst of the presidential primary calendar, there were spirited contests on both sides of the aisle. In addition, while state voters will be casting ballots in an open primary election for U.S. Senate whose top two vote getters will advance to the November general election, incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein is facing no serious challengers, either from within her party or from the Republican side.

3 Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Page 3 This year's lack of competitive candidate elections at the top-of-the-ticket is also accompanied by the relative absence of salient statewide ballot propositions capturing voter interest. Just two statewide initiatives are on the ballot, one a cigarette tax for cancer research and the other an initiative to alter the state's term limits law, and neither are likely to draw large numbers of voters to the polls. More voters will be casting their ballots by mail. One aspect of today's vote will likely produce a record high proportion. This relates to the percentage of ballots that will be cast by mail. The Field Poll estimates that for the first time in California presidential primary election history, a majority of voters (55%) will participate by mailing in their ballots. This result would be a culmination of a long-term trend, following a change in California law in the late 1970s that made it possible for any voter to cast their ballot by mail. Prior to that voting by mail was restricted only to voters who were disabled or were out of state at the time of the election. Since then virtually every presidential primary has seen a growing share of state voters opting to mail in their vote. The pace of change to mail ballot voting in presidential primaries has accelerated over the past twelve years, from 23% in 2000 to 34% in 2004, to 42% in 2008 and to an expected 55% this year. Table 2 Precinct vs. mail ballot (absentee) voting in California presidential primary elections to 2012 Presidential primary Total votes Mail ballot votes Precinct votes ,000,000* 3,300,000* (55%)* 2,700,000* (45%)* ,068,415 3,777,094 (42%) 5,291,321 (58%) ,684,421 2,293,321 (34%) 4,391,100 (66%) ,883,385 1,842,891 (23%) 6,040,494 (77%) ,081,777 1,415,176 (23%) 4,666,601 (77%) ,440,287 1,073,071 (17%) 5,367,216 (83%) ,037, ,057 (9%) 5,465,406 (91%) ,609, ,109 (7%) 5,190,954 (93%) ,774, ,875 (5%) 6,430,309 (95%) ,323,651 N/A N/A ,460, ,216 (3%) 6,256,004 (97%) ,723, ,484 (3%) 5,578,563 (97%) ,124, ,337 (2%) 5,014,838 (98%) * Field Poll estimates. All other figures from the California Secretary of State. N/A: Not reported by California Secretary of State.

4 Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Page 4 Table 3 Trend of precinct vs. mail ballot voting in California presidential primary elections since % 97% 97% 95% 93% 91% 83% Precinct Voters 77% 77% 66% 58% 55%* 34% 42% 45%* 17% 9% 5% 7% 2% 3% 3% 23% 23% Mail Ballot Voters * Field Poll estimate for All other percentages are the official percentages from the California Secretary of State. Little confusion with new open primary balloting One significant change that voters will encounter in the June 2012 primary is the way candidates are listed for most state and federal offices. As a result of the passage of Prop. 14 in California's June 2010 election, candidates running for all federal and state elective offices except president will be listed together on a single ballot regardless of political affiliation. The two top vote-getters, even if from the same party, will then advance to the November general election. There has been some speculation that this new system of balloting will create confusion among voters, since for many contests the number of candidates that voters will be asked to choose from will be considerably longer than in the past. In this survey the Poll asked voters about the possibility that the new balloting system creates confusion. The results show that three fourths of voters (74%) do not think the change will be confusing to them, while 21% say it will, of whom just 5% say this will be very confusing. The extent of confusion declines to 16% among the nearly one in four voters who had already cast their ballots by mail at the time the survey was conducted, with just 4% saying it was very confusing.

5 Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Page 5 Table 4 Extent to which voters say they were or will be confused when voting in the 2012 primary election for candidate races showing all candidates from all parties together in one long list (among likely voters in the June primary election) Total Already voted Likely to vote Not confused 74% 81% 71% Confused Very confused Somewhat confused Not confused No answer Don't know

6 Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Page 6 Methodological Details Information About The Survey Findings in this report reporting the distribution of votes to be cast in the June primary election between mail and precinct voters as well as voter reactions to the longer primary election ballot are based on a Field Poll survey of 608 likely voters in the June primary election. Interviewing was conducted by telephone in English and Spanish using live interviewers working from Field Research Corporation s central location telephone interviewing facilities. Up to six attempts were made to reach, screen and interview each randomly selected voter on different days and times of day during the interviewing period. Interviewing was completed on either a voter s landline phone or a cell phone depending on the source of the telephone listing from the voter file. In this survey about 21% of the interviewers were derived from calls made to cell phone listings, while about 79% were made to landline telephone listings.. After the completion of interviewing, the overall likely voter sample were weighted and thus the results reported here are weighted estimates. Sampling error estimates applicable to the results of any probability-based survey depend on sample size as well as the percentage distribution being examined. The maximum sampling error estimates for results based on 608 likely voters sample is +/- 4.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The maximum sampling error is based on results in the middle of the sampling distribution (i.e., percentages at or near 50%). Percentages at either end of the distribution (those closer to 10% or 90%) have a smaller margin of error. There are other potential sources of error in surveys besides sampling error. However, the overall design and execution of the survey sought to minimize these other possible sources of error. The Field Poll was established in 1947 as The California Poll by Mervin Field, who is still an active advisor. The Poll has operated continuously since then as an independent, non-partisan survey of California public opinion. The Poll receives annual funding from media subscribers of The Field Poll, from several California foundations, and the University of California and California State University systems, who receive the data files from each Field Poll survey shortly after its completion for teaching and secondary research purposes. Questions Asked There will be a statewide primary election on June 5 th. Are you planning to vote or not planning to vote in that election, or have you already voted early or by mail using an absentee ballot? (IF PLANNING TO VOTE:) How certain are you that you will vote in the upcoming statewide election? Are you absolutely certain, fairly certain, not too certain or not at all certain that you will vote? (IF A LIKELY VOTER:) If you do vote in the upcoming statewide election, will you vote early or by mail using an absentee ballot or will you vote at your precinct polling place on Election Day? The current statewide primary election ballot lists the candidates running for the U.S. Senate, Congress and the state legislature differently than in previous primary elections. All the candidates from all parties are listed together in one long list. Voters then vote for one candidate in each race from any political party. The two candidates receiving the most votes in each race will then face off in the November general election. When you vote in the primary election, do you think this change will be confusing to you or not? (IF YES:) Do you think this will be very confusing, somewhat confusing or only a little confusing?

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